If I’m a 19 year old and got caught shoplifting, can I take the charge and do some kind of diversion program since this is my first offence?

I was caught shoplifting an item under $10 (a very stupid thing to do and I regret it 100%). When I had left the store the manager came out told me to come inside; I stayed quiet and drove away. The next day I had a police card on my vehicle with a case number. The police are trying to charge my mom since it was her car. I would much rather take the charge. What should I do?

Asked on September 26, 2014 under Criminal Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You should get an attorney as soon as you can and I really mean it.  Understand that a guilty plea will stay on your record and you will have to divulge it on every job application for the rest of your life.  There are definitely diversion programs available and courts will tend to give them to first time offenders such as yourself.  Once completed and you stay clean for 6 months or so then the matter is dismissed. PLEASE get a lawyer ASAP. 

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